How To Care For Outdoor Ferns

How To Care For Outdoor Ferns

Most of the time, we are more used to seeing beautiful ferns through the forests and woodlands where they cower under treetops.

They sprawl across the forest floors, although you can find then equally appealing when using them in your shady garden.

Garden ferns, which are hardy against winter temperatures, can grow all year round in many gardens across the United States.

Many types of ferns can withstand the colds of winter and height of summer, which makes them useful for gardening in light reduced shaded corners you have in your garden landscapes.

Here, in this guide, you can learn how to care for ferns outside in your garden.

Tips on Caring For Outdoor Ferns

Types of Outdoor Hardy Ferns

Once you begin growing, you can see how to care for ferns is straightforward in your garden, although it will depend on the variety of fern plants you choose for your ferns. Boston plant ferns being a good example as these are not as hardy as others here.

Although some types of fern plants are deciduous, there are a few varieties of ferns, which are evergreen. (Read Best Gardening Boots For Women)

Southern Maidenhair Fern – You will find the Southern Maidenhair ferns a spreading plant that can thrive in a broad range of soil conditions in your garden such as acidic soils and soils full of rocks. While it has a delicate look about it, its looks hide how hardy it can be.

Christmas Fern – Christmas ferns thrive in the southeast. Here it will be evergreen. In looks, it is similar to Boston ferns, although hardier. It does grow slowly, yet it is worth waiting for and can transform your garden.

Male fern – Male ferns grow up to 5 ft and are evergreen. These ferns take on a shape like a vase and are another fern that likes lots of shade, and grows best in a moist soil garden.

Lady Fern – If you live in areas where water can be scarce in your garden, you find the Lady fern drought tolerant. This fern can grow to heights of around 3 feet and grows upright rather than spreading outward. (Learn How Often Do You Water Ferns)

Autumn Fern – Being semi-evergreen plants, the Autumn fern you see has arching fronds. In the spring and summer, the foliage becomes a coppery color with a pinkish hue. Toward fall, the plants take on a more natural copper glow. You can find these fern plants adds year-round interest to your shaded landscape gardening, and as long as you keep the soil damp, the plant will be happy.

How Often Should You Water Ferns Outside?

Once you begin to know how to take care of ferns, you will see the main things the plants like are the area in your garden and how often do you water ferns. Too much pampering and you can harm the plant’s growth.

Outdoor ferns usually like shaded areas where the soil is always moist. However, they can handle full sun as long as the place they grow is damp.

When watering, keep to around 1 to 2 inches of water a week. It can vary as your soil type can have different drainage properties. Also, the rate of growth can have an influence.

Plants growing in light sandy soil, need more frequent watering than other plants growing in dense clay soil. If you grow your fern plants in containers outside, it may take daily watering because the water drains much faster and soil will dry quicker, particularly in warm spells.

Why Are My Ferns Dying?

You can see that how to take care of ferns is easy, mainly outdoor ferns. The plants don’t need too much care inside while they are growing. While they can deal with sun, it is best to keep your plants in their natural habitat in a shaded landscape.

One of the most common issues you may see is the tips of the plant fronds begin to brown, and they dry out.

While your fern plants need water and shade, there is one other criterion that has to be met, and that is humidity. One thing often misunderstood when gardening for beginners is that more water doesn’t mean more humidity.

If you see this happening and your plants are getting too much full sun, you may need to move them to a shadier area. One other thing that can lead to brown tips on your ferns is the weather conditions are too cold.

If this is the case, rather than waste your plants, one of the best tips is to use containers to transplant your plant, so you can take your outdoor ferns inside when it is cold. Lack of water can also be the reason for brown tips on the fronds. (Read Best Outdoor Gardening Bench)

Types of Outdoor Ferns

When Should I Put Ferns Outside?

When ferns are a part of your gardening, and you move them indoors, you can see ferns thrive the best in your home when in the bathroom. Your bathroom has the most humidity of any other room in your home.

Suppose you have ferns that are not hardy, such as the Boston’s. You need to know how to care for ferns indoors to make sure they last before you add them back to your garden landscape in warmer weather.

Here are a few tips on how you can care for outdoor ferns before you bring them into your home from your garden, so your fern can grow over the winter.

Bring Ferns in Before Hard Frost

Ferns may be hardy, yet a hard frost is different. Make sure you use sense to take them indoors before a heavy frost, and you can keep your ferns alive.

Prune before Moving into Your Home

Ferns can grow quite large depending on the variety, so be sure to prune back the stragglers before moving them into your home.

Use Your Hose to Eliminate Insects

Ferns are quite thick when they grow, so they are ideal homes for insects. The best way to prevent these insects from entering your home on the plant is to spray your ferns on the upper and undersides of the leaves. Do this after pruning your ferns and let the fern dry before taking them into your home. (Read the Best Garden Hose Review)

Root Bound

Check your fern pot or container is large enough, or your ferns could be root bound.


When indoors, make sure you use a shady area of your home rather than in full view of a sunny window and bright light.

If you are going to transplant your ferns when you move them outside, the best times to do so in early spring after any hard frosts have finished.

At this time, ferns will not be dormant, and the plant will be growing with new growth, so you can quickly add your ferns to your garden landscape.

How To Care For Outdoor Ferns

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